Rare Red Panda Cubs Born in Britain

    From the Telegraph: The boy and girl cubs, which arrived in July, were the first to be born at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in Devon for six years.

    Julian Chapman, senior head keeper of mammals, said he hoped visitors would be able to see the cubs out and about in the next few weeks.

    ''With its rusty red coat and a long bushy tail, it resembles a raccoon more than a panda.

    ''It is mainly nocturnal and spends most of its time curled on a branch with its tail over its head. It lives in pairs and forms small family groups.'

    The cubs were born to parents Randy, aged three, and six-year-old mother Mandy.

    Randy came to Paignton from Dortmund Zoo in Germany in September 2008 and Mandy arrived from Dublin Zoo the previous January.

    The red or lesser panda comes from the mountains of Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar and Nepal.

    It lives in high altitude forest and eats bamboo shoots, grass, roots, fruit, acorns and occasionally mice and birds.

    The panda has fur on the pads of its paws to help keep heat in and to prevent it slipping on wet or snowy surfaces.

    The female has one or two young after a gestation period of 90 to 150 days and the young stay with the mother until they are a year old.

    The red panda is classed as ''vulnerable'' by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which means it is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

    It has legal protection in Nepal and China, and can be found in several national parks.

    Conservation breeding programmes in zoos are co-ordinated worldwide.Source URL: http://outlawrepublican.blogspot.com/2010/09/rare-red-panda-cubs-born-in-britain.html
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